In the early sixties, when Val Smith bought her first Cocker Spaniel in a Maltese pet shop for the grand total of £8, the dye was set for the next forty years.
Several years and two or three spaniels later, a six-year-old Victoria entered the show ring in Junior Handling classes, but soon showed natural flair and such affinity with her charges that she quickly graduated into handling the dogs in breed competition and against the adults!
Perhaps one of the most successful of the "Javal" cockers was the beautiful golden bitch, "Javal Lovin' Spoonful", Pickle.
She was one of the most successful golden cockers of that time in Scotland, and earned herself many fans, even amongst rival exhibitors, with her faultless temperament, beauty and constantly wagging tail.
When asked to sell the bitch so that she could be campaigned to her certain championship, Val refused. "No money on earth can buy her".
Sadly, at just over a year old, Pickle was diagnosed as having cardiomyopathy and was never bred from.
She continued showing, eventually becoming a successful winner in veteran classes. She lived until the ripe old age of fifteen and right up until the end, her tail was wagging.
In the early eighties, Val and Victoria discovered the delightful Italian Spinone and entered into another deep and rewarding partnership with these continental gun dogs.
They obtained a bitch, Bella, from the first litter to be born in Scotland, and she was followed three years later by Victoria's eighteenth birthday present, Sylvester, a brown roan dog, born in Somerset. "A gentleman of a dog".
Both of these animals were successful in the show ring, in the days when the breed was regarded as a Rare Breed.
In the one litter Val and Victoria took from Syl and Bella, they produced a couple of excellent working gun dogs, and the foundation stone of their top winning kennel of Spinone, the most successful in Scotland.
The culmination of careful and selective breeding resulted in their bitch "Javal Walking in Memphis" being awarded the Bitch Challenge Certificate at the Scottish Kennel Club in August 2000.
"We breed for health, type and temperament at all times but the Spinone is not a dog for everyone". Prospective owners are put to the acid test by the resident dogs!
We now have Edward and Alice two brown babies bred by myself at Broomhill Kennels & Cattery in Kinross, the next show champions! Well fingers crossed, but always loved!